15 Tantalizing Side Dishes to Serve with Beef Ragu

As an Italian food lover and home cook, I adore a hearty bowl of beef ragu piled high over creamy pappardelle pasta. That rich meaty tomato sauce studded with melt-in-your-mouth beef is pure comfort food bliss!

While beef ragu is certainly substantial on its own, pairing it with the right side dishes can take the meal to the next level. The key is to choose accompaniments that enhance the flavors of the ragu rather than compete with it.

In this article, I’ll share my 15 favorite pairings for beef ragu, from classics like cheesy garlic bread to fresh veggie sides and palate-cleansing desserts With this guide, you’ll have plenty of tantalizing options to serve alongside the hearty Italian sauce

Complementary Flavors for Beef Ragu

With its robust tomato-based sauce and tender shredded beef, ragu has a distinctly savory flavor profile. When deciding what to serve alongside, opt for sides that complement these characteristics:

  • Hearty breads that can soak up the rich sauce
  • Earthy roasted vegetables to add color
  • Sharp, salty cheeses to balance the acidity
  • Fresh greens with a bright vinaigrette
  • Simple sweets to cleanse the palate

By keeping the flavors cohesive, you allow the star of the show – the beef ragu – to shine. Now let’s get to those sensational recipes!

1. Creamy Polenta

Creamy polenta is a classic pairing, offering a neutral base to soak up the ragu. For extra richness, top your polenta with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, or Parmesan.

2. Garlic Bread

Warm, crusty garlic bread is meant for mopping up every last bit of a delicious sauce like beef ragu. Go the extra mile with melted mozzarella or infused herbs.

3. Herbed Focaccia

With its golden crispy crust and soft interior, herbed focaccia is ideal for serving with ragu pasta or spooning over the sauce itself. The aromatics in the bread perfectly complement the herbs in the ragu.

4. Fried Zucchini

For a flavor and texture contrast, fried zucchini slices offer a crispy, savory side. I suggest breading them in panko breadcrumbs for an extra crunch factor that stands up well to the rich ragu.

5. Lemon Sorbet

As a bright, tangy palate cleanser, lemon sorbet cools the mouth after a savory dish like ragu. It cuts through the richness beautifully.

6. Parmesan Breadsticks

These savory breadsticks seasoned with Parmesan, garlic, and herbs make nibbling accompaniments to pair with beef ragu pasta. Offer them alongside for dipping into the sauce.

7. Zucchini Sticks

For another fun, vegetal side, crispy Parmesan zucchini sticks offer a tasty crunch and pop of green color. Kids and adults alike will love them!

8. Garlic Bread

You can never go wrong with hot, cheesy garlic bread alongside any Italian food! The rich, buttery flavors complement a saucy ragu meal perfectly.

9. Lemon Sorbet

Light and refreshing, lemon sorbet satisfies the sweet tooth while cleansing the palate after a hearty bowl of beef ragu. A must-try pairing!

10. Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts

The sweet and tangy balsamic notes of these roasted Brussels sprouts balance beautifully with the savory umami flavors in the beef ragu sauce.

11. Lemon Sorbet

Offer a tart, sweet kiss to finish your meal with this easy homemade lemon sorbet. It effortlessly washes down the rich flavors of the pasta and sauce.

12. Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Nutty, caramelized Brussels sprouts make the ideal roasted veggie side for ragu. Toss them in garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper for a simple yet delicious pairing.

13. Roasted Asparagus

Elegant yet easy, roasted asparagus offers the perfect balance of earthy and bright flavors next to a hearty ragu. Toss with olive oil, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese.

14. Cheesy Garlic Bread

Warm from the oven, cheesy garlic bread is meant for serving with a saucy, robust dish like beef ragu. The rich flavors marry perfectly.

15. Fruit Salad

For a dose of freshness, a fruit salad with berries, melon, grapes, and citrus makes a sweet counterpoint to the savory ragu. Consider a honey lime dressing for a tangy twist.

With this diverse lineup of side dish options, you can create an Italian feast to remember. Browse the list and choose a few pairings that appeal to you. Now who’s ready for a bowl of beef ragu? Mangia!

Don’t Miss the Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Ragu Recipe!

What kind of pasta goes with beef Ragu?

Pappardelle is the traditional choice when it comes to serving Beef Ragu. It’s a long, thick pasta that holds up well when topped with the thick sauce. However, almost any sturdy pasta shape will work with ragu sauce. Think: fettuccine, tagliatelle, rigatoni, or even penne.

What to serve with beef Ragu?

Taste for additional seasonings. Serve this hearty Beef Ragu over pasta topped with a dollop of whole milk ricotta cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan or Romano cheese! A side salad like Caesar or this Perfect Side Salad and some warm crusty bread are perfect accompaniments!

Can you cook beef Ragu on the stovetop?

Cooking a tender, hearty beef ragu on the stovetop requires a bit more effort, but the end result is the same – a completely delicious sauce full of flavor with tender beef and vegetables, perfect with your favorite kind of pasta. Season the beef roast, then brown the meat on each side in a large Dutch oven. Remove and set aside.

What is beef Ragu?

This Beef Ragu is a thick and hearty tomato based sauce that is filled with tender shredded beef, a little red wine, and herbs & spices. It is perfect served over pappardelle or tagliatelle pasta! In a large heavy bottom pot, like a Le Crueset or Lodge cast iron pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat.

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